How are things with you in your corner of the world today? I have just eaten breakfast and the Lord has served up a slice of humble pie. I was planning on eating a sesame seed bagel, but I guess God wanted me to chew on something else. Instead of a yummy bagel, I found myself digesting these words:
Romans 12:2b-3…but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. 3For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith. (NASB)
In my last post I reflected on the end of Romans 11, and God spoke to me about my attitude when I pray rigidly for my solutions rather than trust Him to know what is best. A friend once recommended that I ask God for his solution, rather than having a mindset that plan A (my plan) is the only way. This was really good advice. A dose of humility and a reminder of the knowledge and sovereignty of God was definitely His portion for me the other day. Today, I notice that He has led my attention the instruction to relate to other people through grace. More specifically, don’t think too highly of self. You see, being human, that’s where my thoughts about myself naturally go…up, up, and away. Either I think too much of myself, or I think of myself too much.
When I put my desires and needs in first place in the waiting line for my attention, I am thinking too highly of myself: i.e., my needs are more important than yours. The word “highly” actually means vain or arrogant, esteeming oneself too much, and it is so easy to think this way. This little bad habit of the mind can show up in a variety of ways. For instance, being preoccupied with my problems can happen when I think my problems are worse than yours. When I am certain that I know what so-and-so’s problem is, I am thinking too highly of myself as an expert judge of character. Other times, I can insist on my idea, driving others with the prideful thinking that, of course, I am right. Yes, if you are like me, you are starting to feel a wee bit of conviction… When I think too highly of myself, I will inevitably think too lowly of someone else. There’s only so much room at the top.
I am receiving another dose of humility as God reminds me of the problem with inaccurate and prideful self-absorption—it will eventually lead to a lack of judgment that affects my relationship with both God and others. God knows we need a lot of help with this one. Could this be why this verse is placed right next to Romans 12:2, which refers to the Spirit-led renewing of my thoughts? When the Holy Spirit brings His truth to my thinking, my actions can follow as I live out, demonstrate, and “prove” what is good. One of those “good” things is realistic, truth-based thinking about myself—not too high and not too low.
So are these words resonating with you, like they are with me? See, I am putting your interests ahead of mine as I generously share my slice of humble pie. Join me in my next post as I a few other verses on this topic.